Review: Batman: Arkham City

NO ESCAPE FROM ARKHAM CITY

Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Genre: Action Adventure
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Compatibility (PS3): 1634MB Minimum Space | SIXAXIS Motion Sensitive | DUALSHOCK 3 Vibration Function | HD 720p
Compatibility (Xbox 360): 344KB Minimum Space | HDTV 720p / 1080i / 1080p
Rating: 9.7

Two years ago Rocksteady Studios developed the best superhero game ever; Batman: Arkham Asylum. Until now. The same team decided to build on this massive game and the result is one of the best and memorable games of 2011. Batman: Arkham City is how a sequel should be, bigger, better and bolder. The Dark Knight returns with a bang and this time around we won’t be exploring an asylum, but a whole city, actually the northern part of Gotham. Arkham City is a fascinating place to visit and you will spend lots of hours staring at your surroundings from the tallest rooftops available to explore.

Arkham City is home to all the bad guys from the first game, and the place is run by Dr.Hugo Strange. It’s Batman’s job to check out what’s happening to this place and bring some order to the neighborhood. Because now the game is an open world, you will feel a bit lost in the beginning since exploring the city brings you to a huge number of side missions, quests and puzzles to solve. But once you get hooked into its gameplay, Batman: Arkham City does not let you leave at all especially during the main quest because the story is so intriguing, fun and exciting. You will also note that you will meet a massive number of villains in the game and each character is precisely developed and defined. These bosses won’t give you a hard time most of the time. That’s one of the downfalls in Arkham City; boss fights are too easy. Having said that, every encounter with a boss is memorable and the game’s cutscenes are instants that will be cherished every time. Some of these interesting characters include Mr.Freeze, Penguin, Harley Quinn and obviously The Joker.

These four are in for some beating. A very harsh one.

The combat system has been improved over its predecessor, not because there was much to improve, but anyway Rocksteady Studios made it perfectly. With a single button you can attack and counter enemies and now you can also counter more than one enemy at the same time, making combat fights exhilarating. You will always be outnumbered in Arkham City and to make it worse enemies can use guns, stun rods and throw objects at you to stop you from bringing justice to the streets. Still, the Dark Knight has a number of gadgets which you can unlock and upgrade to make every encounter with the enemy one to remember. You will feel that nothing can stop Batman especially after performing a forty-hit combo and finishing the last one off with a flying kick. Similar to Arkham Asylum, you do not need to go all out and beat your opponents with your fists. Sometimes stealth is the key to advance because if a number of enemies start shooting at you, it is very difficult to beat them. Now you can also distract your enemies by shooting at a fire extinguisher, switching on a machine or throwing a batarang at their backs. As previously stated, there isn’t just the main quest and a couple of side missions in Arkham City, but there are also more than 400 Riddler Challenges waiting for you to solve them. Some are easy and some need thinking to solve, still every single Riddler trophy feels satisfying when collected.

From the first moments you grab your controller and press start to play, you will immediately identify that Batman: Arkham City is outstanding to watch. Visuals were polished from the previous game and even though the dark winter nights never seem to end, Arkham City is truly a living city, a work of art. The color textures are a joy to watch and I felt that many times I wanted to watch my surroundings while I was on the rooftop of a massive building. You won’t be seeing waterfalls or sunsets in this game. You will be seeing sewers, abandoned streets and loads of stylish buildings. It sounds uninteresting and boring. But it is not. Hell no. Apart from some rare visual pop-ins that is. To top it all off, Arkham City sounds good as well. Apart from Batman’s and Joker’s voices which are remarkable, the sound effects of the game make Batman’s world believable. You will be meeting lots of thugs with the same voice unfortunately, but these are just very minor issues in an ocean of quality aspects.

People are starting to get attracted to Harley Quinn. Are you?

Completing the game will unlock the New Game Plus which is a more challenging playthrough including carrying over all gadgets and experience points retrieved in your previous run. Apart from this, the challenge rooms are back giving you a number of combat, stealth and Riddler challenges. Yes, Arkham City is full of things to do. You want more? Ok. All those who buy the game new can download the DLC which is playable by Catwoman. A couple of missions are available to play with the sexy character and having different gadgets and moves is a very interesting change in Arkham City. There are also specific Riddler trophies for Catwoman which cannot be collected while playing with the Dark Knight.

Batman: Arkham City is an achievement, a success. It is one of those games which you will be coming back for more, you will be talking about for a long time, you will be thinking about it frequently. Those who aren’t Batman fans may not understand all this hype. But I urge them to give this game a chance. It will be an unforgettable experience. I’m not much into superheroes and comics. I started to like Batman two years ago after playing Arkham Asylum. After playing hours and hours of Arkham City in which I still cannot stop, I now became a fan of the one and only Dark Knight.

Reviewed by Barber – December 7, 2011

Graphics
A joy to watch. Not only cutscenes but during gameplay you will truly feel that Arkham City is a living place. Amazing.
 
Sound
Some of the best voice-acting by Batman and Joker. Awesome sound effects and a very nice soundtrack. Only negative is the same voice for most of the thugs.
 
Fun
These are games we want to play. Arkham City is a hooking experience. Make sure you’ve got lots of free time available for this game. Remarkable.
 
Final Score

 

Responses

  1. GOTY


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